Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden | Germany

Boris Godunov

Modest Mussorgsky (1839 – 1881)
Sung in Russian with German surtitles
Opera in four acts with Prologue
Libretto: by the composer, based on the drama by Alexander Pushkin
World premiere of the 1872/1873 version: 1874 in St. Petersburg
In cooperation with the State Theatre of Darmstadt

Choirs of the state theatres Darmstadt and Wiesbaden
Photo: Markus Kaesler
Matti Salminen
Photo: Heikki Tuuli
Monika Bohinec
Photo: Lois Lammerhuber

Modest Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” combines the tension of Shakespearean drama with the realistic energy of a Russian folk opera. His only completed opera, “Boris Godunov” is based on the play by Alexander Pushkin and set against the backdrop of the power struggles around Tsar Ivan the Terrible’s succession. This pursuit of power is still as timeless today as politically motivated murders and denial of responsibility. The work offers a fascinating psychological profile of a guilt-ridden ruler – once revered by the people, increasingly loathed and ultimately rebelled against – and an epic panorama of seventeenth-Century Russia. Even after his demise, the longed-for liberation from his tyranny would bring little respite. Instead, those in power would continue to exert their oppressive, seemingly impenetrable force while the corpses of the guilty and innocent pave the way of history. Additionally, the so-called “Polish act” which Mussorgsky added in 1872, brings a woman – under the pretence of a love story – centrally into the action.  Musically, “Boris Godunov” represents a radical new operatic sound, one which integrates Russian folk song, hymns, children’s songs and his unique musical art of individual characterisation.

For the realisation of this monumental work, the Opera divisions of the State Theatres of Darmstadt and Wiesbaden join forces in an exciting artistic collaboration. Standing 100 people strong in this production, the Russian nation is embodied on stage by the choruses of the two theatres. Matti Salminen, one of the greatest bass voices of our time and a legendary interpreter of this tragic character, sings Boris Godunov, while Monica Bohinec (Vienna State Opera) can be heard as Marina.

Language: sung in Russian with German surtitles

Accompanying Event(s)

Film programme at the Caligari FilmBühne
Part of the 2016 International May Festival

Boris Godunow
Director: Sergey Bondarchuk
Country: Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia,  West Germany
Release Date: 1986
Language: Russian, French
Duration: 141 min
With: Sergei Bondarchuk, Vyacheslav Butenko, Yelena Bondarchuk

Special Guest Matti Salminen

Further Performances

"Boris Godunov" can also be experienced before and after the International May Festival as part of the regular season schedule.

More info and tickets can be found on the Wiesbaden State Theatre's pages:


Boris Godunov Matti Salminen
Feodor Ulrika Strömstedt
Xenia Stella An
Xenia's nurse Helena Köhne
Shuysky Alexander Fedin
Shchelkalov Benjamin Russell
Pimen Young Doo Park
Dmitriy Richard Furman
Marina Monika Bohinec
Rangoni Thomas de Vries
Varlaam Wolf Matthias Friedrich
Misail Minseok Kim
The Innkeeper Celeste Haworth
Holy Fool
Nikitich Kyung Il Ko
The Boyar Khrushchov Andreas Wellano
Lavitsky Vladimir Emelin
Chernikovsky Aldomir Mollov
Mityukha Stanislav Kirov
Chor des Hessischen Staatstheaters Wiesbaden, Chor des Staatstheaters Darmstadt, Hessisches Staatsorchester Wiesbaden